Never have I come across this slimey ewwey creature before. I hope this isn't something I have to pick off my plants each year.
Here is a link that might be useful: Icky yicky larvae
Yuk is right. Actually, I found the explanation sort of amusing though, "The pear slug is not actually a slug but the larval form of an insect also known as a sawfly which is a non-stinging wasp rather than a fly." It just goes to show how common names can be deceiving. So, it's not really a slug nor a true fly.
Anyways, interesting that they are still feeding on the plants in mid-September.
And, because they are not a true slug (as we think of slugs) but rather an insect, you can kill them with malathian if you wish.
Did you get a picture of it?
No, I did not get a picture of it, and at first when I searched I used words like caterpillar, shiny, wet, and I'd thought it was some sort of cereal beetle larvae, but their shape is different (and I have some red wheat growing nearby just to fill an empty spot).
The shape reminds me of a planarium someone posted on the compost forum, but when I chanced upon the pear/cherry slug photos, I knew I had 'im. Also, when I bothered it and made it roll over, I could see it's underbelly was drier, and it had legs, so I knew it was not a slug - just looked like one (and obviously was nicknamed as one). I only have 3 cotoneaster plants this year, just to see if they survive the winter well in the exposed area I've planted them in, so I used tweezers to pry them off the leaves and dropped them in a container with vinegar. I also use vinegar on the spruce sawflies in the spring, seems to do them in. Only works for small infestations (if the gardener is willing to pluck). I think they are feeding so late because our spring was a good 2-3 weeks delayed with unusually cool weather, so everything's set back?
Pear slugs can make a real mess on my cotoneaster and cistena cherry. This year they are so late, I'm not too concerned. The leaves are almost ready to fall off anyway. But in the past, I've found that just spraying with insecticidal soap at the first sign of damage controls them. I agree that they are gross though.
Guess this means that I should go check out my cotoneaster hedge and my cistena cherry.
Are they nocternal critters or should I find them at any time of the day, if I have them here? (Hopefully I don't)
I'd say one thing in our favour is that the caterpillar feeds on the top of leaves, so very easy to spy, no surprises when touching a leaf from below (like in, say those green caterpillars that like to eat holes in rose bush leaves). And they don't try to escape, although I found they had a grip on the leaf not unlike a little leach would on your leg at the lake (yikes).
I picked mine off, I only had a dozen on my 3 baby shrubs, and from what I've read they usually don't do too much damage since it's so late in the season and the plant has done most of what it's needed to for winter. Since it is carried by the adult which flies, I'm not sure numbers would be reduced for next year.
I used plastic tweezers I'd inherited from a son's bug catching kit, but hey, if you're REALLY brave, (like my mom-she can squish a slug (the smaller ones) with her bare fingers, she hates slugs that bad!) you can try bare handed! (Ha!)
Yesterday, I found 3 on one of my cherry trees that I planted last year. I took a few pictures and will post them later. Amazing how much they really do look like slugs. They are smaller than I thought they would be at only about 1 cm long and are very easy to squish. When squished the little black shiny 'slugs' are green inside. No slime like a regular slug, but when it was dragged along my fingernail there was a black residue on my nail where I had moved it. The shininess (sp?)of the top of the pear slug makes it look wet, like a regular slug always is.
Okay Brenda....like.....wow.....I am the GARDENING WIMP of CANADA! There is no way I could do that (bare hands on bug squishing), for me it is less effort to walk back into the house (and since the deck's not finished I have to saunter ALL the way to the front), knock the dirt off my sandals, take them off, go into the house and get a receptacle and a toothpick or whatever, yell at the kids to clean up whatever mess they got going on at that moment, re-sandal, and head back out to the back of the yard). Much easier for me.
Kioni, I think I may be wimpier (is that a word?) than you. I'm not even going to go look at my cotoneasters, just in case there are any pear slugs!
Oh, you guys...
Here is a picture I took of the pear slug on my little cherry tree. Each leaf is about 2" long, so the slug is about 1 cm in length.
On my fingernail it doesn't look that big.
Oh brave girl eh? How about posting me a picture of one all squished up? (just kidding, don't do it!)
You give me strength. Maybe I'll make that my 'fear factor' goal for next year, killing one of those bare handed (and picking the rest!)
Have a great day!